The catching position has become a position of need for the Yankees as a result of Francisco Cervelli going on the 60-day disabled list with a fractured wrist. He will likely not be back until sometime in July. The current starter, Chris Stewart, has one hit in his last nine at bats. He started the season off hitting well in limited action backing up Cervelli, but Stewart is now batting only .256 in 15 games.
Austin Romine, who was called up from AAA Scranton when Cervelli went on the disabled list, is similar to Romine in that he is more known for his defense than his offensive ability. Ideally, the catcher should be able to help the team in both facets. Romine has always been a quality prospect since he was a second round pick by the team in 2007, was a participant in the All-Star Futures Game in 2010 and was voted the organization’s second best prospect in 2010.
Joe Giradi has not had much confidence in playing Romine, which will mean that Stewart could become less and less reliable. Stewart is also best suited to be a reserve. This is why it hurt the Yankees so much when Cervelli was injured last week because he was having a solid all around season.
However, Romine clearly has not developed like the team thought he would. It is still possible that he will, but Romine is now 24, and the Yankees have other quality catching prospects in the minor leagues, which means that it is worth exploring other options. He has only hit .136 in his at bats that he has had with the team in 2011 and 2013. However, the Yankees might be able to find a team who will believe that his offensive abilities will turn around.
The Yankees should target Nick Hundley, who is the starting catcher for the San Diego Padres. The Padres, who are currently 13-18 and in last place in the NL West, will be looking to sell and not buy leading up to the trade deadline. Ideally, the Yankees will acquire a catcher in the beginning of June.
Candidates to be traded for Nick Hundley include David Adams and Corban Joseph, who are currently second baseman for the AAA RailRiders, since All-Star Robinson Cano who will be their second baseman for a long time. Austin Romine could also be included in the trade since he might fare better in a less pressurized environment. The Padres need all of the prospects that they can get.
The Padres also have Yasmani Grandal, who is their catcher of the future, who hit .297 in 60 games last season for San Diego, so it would make sense for the Padres to trade Hundley. Grandal could return as the starting catcher when he is eligible to return from his 50-game suspension. Hundley is hitting .297 with three homers so far this season.
Hundley hit .288 in 2011, after a sub-par 2012 that saw Grandal play instead, and is showing signs of being more consistent.